“Maintaining good dental health helps patients maintain good overall health,” says Dr. Azalea, Bolingbrook dentist. “For example, a patient who quits smoking is six times less likely to develop periodontal disease than a smoker would be. They would also reduce their risk of heart attacks, strokes, heart disease, lung cancer, and other health complications.”
For those who want to start off the year right with a healthy mouth, Dr. Azalea recommends the following resolutions:
Floss at least once a day, every day.
While considered an integral part of dental hygiene maintenance, many Americans still skip daily flossing. “A survey found that only 49% of American floss every day,” says Dr. Azalea. She recommends using high quality floss to prevent snagging. For those who find it difficult to maneuver floss around their mouths, an air or water flosser can be used to remove debris between the teeth.
Want whiter and healthier teeth? Studies have shown that the benefits of smoking cessation start kicking in after only 20 minutes! Besides the stains on your teeth going away, quitting smoking also helps your breath stay fresher and prevents you from losing your teeth prematurely. Smoking also helps reduce complications from periodontal disease: according to the Action on Smoking and Health UK website, a study was performed that followed 49 smokers with chronic gum diseases over one year. Among the one-fifth who quit, gum health was found to have improved considerably compared to those who were still smoking.
Limit your sugar intake (including hidden sugars).
Most people know that soda and pastries have an excess amount of sugar and should be avoided, but it is also important to be aware that many seemingly innocent food products contain large amounts of hidden sugar. Some yogurts, for example, may contain over 30 grams of sugar in one serving. Fruit juice may contain over 50 grams of sugar! When you do your grocery shopping, it is important that you read the nutrition facts closely to watch for hidden sugars.
Schedule your dental appointments early (twice a year).
Make sure to visit your dentist twice a year for a cleaning and a checkup. Keeping up with your dental appointments can prevent complications further down the line, such as periodontal disease and tooth loss. If you are unsure about your dental insurance benefits, it is best to figure them out at the beginning of the year rather than at the end of the year. The Lily Cache Dental team will work with you to help maximize your dental insurance benefits.
Avoid mindless chewing.
Although seemingly harmless, chewing items such as ice cubes can wear down the enamel on your teeth or even cause the teeth to chip or crack. Chewing pens is a common habit that Dr. Azalea sees in her patients. She warns patients to be careful about what they put in their mouths. “If you feel you must chew on something, try sugarless gum,” Dr. Azalea advises. “Sugarless gum aids in the production of saliva in your mouth, which can help remove after-meal debris.”
About Dr. Suzy Azalea:
Dr. Suzy Azalea graduated from the Southern Illinois School of Dentistry in 1998. After graduating from dental school, she became a founding member of the American Oral Systemic Health Association. Dr. Azalea began practicing dentistry in Nashville, TN and then moved back to Illinois to open Lily Cache Dental. To learn more about Dr. Azalea, visit http://www.lcdentalimplants.com.